CDC Offers Information on COVID-19 and Older Adults

Coronavirus

Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus that has now spread around the world, including cases in our state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. These include older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

Complications might include pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and in some cases death.

Get ready for COVID-19 now

Avoid crowds

Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick. If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Have supplies on hand

  • Have supplies on hand

    Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.

  • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail order for medications.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
  • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions:

  • Wash your hands

    Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place. (Find more handwashing tips here.)

  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places—elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones).
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.

Be alert for the symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Those include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you do get sick:

Stay home and call your doctor. Describe your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home. (See the next article in this issue of the KIPDA News.)

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
  • New confusion or inability to arouse.
  • Bluish lips or face.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Visit the CDC website to learn more.